HHOF Profile: Chris Pronger

pronger_chris1280-640x360There are plenty of titles that players in professional sports like to get the fastest, quickest, best hands, toughest, or simply the best.

That is not the title that Chris Pronger received throughout his years in the NHL with most people instead considering him the dirtiest player in the league.

Going hand in hand with the dirtiest player, Pronger was also one of the most dominant in the league which could be an indication of why he received the other title.

Standing at 6’6” and weighing in at around 220 lbs Pronger was a force on the blue line as a truly dominant defenceman.

With that size and a mean streak he also took some liberties when going up against the smaller offensive players in the league.

That’s a luxury that a bigger player can take when there are few players willing to take him on in a fight or battle him every play.

Pronger was that guy as he was so much bigger than most of the players that he faced there were few players wanting to mess with him.

That gave him the opportunity to walk along the line of what is legal and illegal throughout his career.

He had been that way from the start when he was drafted 19993 by the Hartford Whalers but started to make a much bigger impact after he was traded to St. Louis in 1995.

That is when his physical presence truly took shape as he quickly became one of the best defenceman in the league.

The fact that he was regularly considered the dirtiest player in the league was telling of what many players thought of him.

Yes he walked the line more often than not but he was also just too good for people to get around easily.

That will frustrate anyone and no matter what he did people were going to complain that he was doing something illegal.

The best players in the world walk that line and as his career built he figured out more ways of shutting down the best offensive players in the league.44-chris-pronger

He was the epitome of a player that you hated to play against but loved to have on your team and he made that clear.

Pronger emerged as a leader in St. Louis becoming a captain and taking that leadership ability everywhere he went.

From St. Louis he went to Edmonton and led them to the Stanley Cup in his only season on the team.

He then went to Anaheim and once again led the team to the Stanley Cup only to do the exact same thing with the Philadelphia Flyers after leaving the west coast.

He won everywhere he went and his leadership was unquestionable no matter where he played.

The legend of Pronger is a complicated one as that label will always hang over his head but there is little doubt that he was at the same time the dirtiest and one of the best in the league.

The biggest disappointment in his job may just be that his career technically hasn’t ended.

Pronger’s rights are currently held by the Arizona Coyotes after the Flyers traded his rights this year.

He still earned a spot in the Hall of Fame because he has not played a game in three years, a requirement for induction.

That is due to the head injury and the eye injury that he suffered as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers in 2012.

Those two injuries were only three weeks apart and sent Pronger down a path that many players have been down.

He suffered from depression and many of the other issues that players with concussions suffer from and became a textbook case.

Although he has not technically retired from the game he holds a role in the league offices and has not stepped on the ice since those two injuries.

It is not the way any hall of famer deserves to end their career but for Pronger it is how his legendary career ended.

Despite the label and the bad end to a career Pronger deserves his spot in the hall as a truly dominant player and a leader that walked the line all the way to Toronto.

c-pronger.fw

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